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School as Real Life or The Academy without Borders Putting Physics and Personal Integrity in Context Louis Bloomfield University of Virginia.

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Presentation on theme: "School as Real Life or The Academy without Borders Putting Physics and Personal Integrity in Context Louis Bloomfield University of Virginia."— Presentation transcript:

1 School as Real Life or The Academy without Borders Putting Physics and Personal Integrity in Context Louis Bloomfield University of Virginia

2 Overview Physics of Real Life: How Things Work (HTW) Motivation, Structure, and History of HTW Examples of objects  Roller Coasters  Bicycles  Clocks  Microwave Ovens Integrity: Don’t Check It at the Classroom Door

3 What is How Things Work? Teaching physics in the context of objects  Objects ahead of physics concepts  Physics concepts ahead of formulas and calculations A backward course in physics

4 Motivation for HTW Difficulties with teaching physics  Only one intro course: Physics-for-Physicists (PfP)  To non-scientists, PfP is –Academic –Unfamiliar –Irrelevant –Boring –Frightening  Neglects how science developed – in context of objects  Active learning, hands-on work, enthusiasm can’t fix

5 Structure of HTW A hierarchy with three levels  Level 1: Areas of Physics – for the instructor  Level 2: Objects of Everyday Life – for the students  Level 3: Concepts of Physics – for both

6 History of HTW Design and start-up ( )  Course built around everyday objects—case study  Custom fit for non-scientists; concepts not formula  Expected fall enrollment: 20-25; actual enrollment: 92  Spring enrollment: 262 Growth and development ( )  Rearrangement and reduction of material  Enrollment grew toward 500 per semester  Lecture notes evolved into a book

7 History (con’t) Steady-State (1996-present)  Further reduction of material to avoid a frantic pace  Working to stay “on message”  Getting students involved

8 Roller Coasters How do loop-the-loops work? Physics concepts involved:  Inertia  Acceleration and forces  Centripetal accelerations  Weight and “weightlessness”

9 Bicycles Why are bicycles so stable? Physics concepts involved:  Equilibrium  Energy and acceleration  Stable and unstable equilibriums  Static stability  Gyroscopic precession  Dynamic stability

10 Clocks How do clocks keep time? Physics concepts involved:  Time and Space  Forces and Acceleration  Harmonic Oscillators

11 Microwave Ovens How do microwave ovens cook? Physics concepts involved:  Electric fields  Polar molecules and free charges  Electrostatic forces and torques  Electromagnetic waves  Wavelength and frequency

12 Observations about HTW Many non-scientists are now learn physics These students find physics useful Much less fear of physics – a cultural change Physics is now a valued part of the University Other physics courses are flourishing

13 Integrity: A Way of Life How to Discourage Integrity The Cause: Content versus Credentials The Effect: Stolen Ideas & Language A Solution: Goals and Training The Challenge: Eliminating Recycling A Recipe for Academic Integrity What is an Honor System?

14 How to Discourage Integrity Value Grades and Other Credentials Above All Else Offer No Motivation for Coursework Do Not Teach About Academic Integrity Have Unclear or Absent Rules about Academic Integrity Have Poor Detection or Enforcement Rate for Cheating Punish the Wrong People  Instructor (redo assignment, “2 nd ” chances, enforcement burden)  Honest Students (change assignments, particularly retroactively)  Both (soften rules to define away cheating)

15 The Cause: Content versus Credentials What Society Wants from Education:  A student should –acquire knowledge and skills –learn how to think –develop good work and study habits –learn how to get along with others –become a good human being What Society Rewards from Education:  A student should –obtain good credentials: grades, scores, and resume entries

16 The Effect: Stolen Ideas & Language Plagiarism Reflects this Confusion of Values  We want original work, but reward stolen work Apparent Benefits of Plagiarism:  Yields credentials disproportionate to effort Real Costs of Plagiarism:  Recycling serves no educational purpose  Dilutes and devalues earned credentials  Demoralizes real contributors  Burdens the readers with meaningless work

17 A Solution: Goals and Training Assignments should have Educational Goals  Students and teachers should both understand those goals  Goals are often not obvious—state them  If an assignment has no worthwhile goals, get rid of it Credentials should Reward Education  Students respond to market pressures  Don’t reward stolen ideas & language, it reinforces theft Teach Intellectual Integrity  Students don’t understand plagiarism  Students don’t understand why plagiarism is wrong

18 The Challenge: Eliminating Plagiarism Benefits:  Original work serves educational purposes  Makes earned recognition and credentials meaningful  Improves morale among real contributors  Eliminates unnecessary work by readers  Strengthens short-term motivations in education Costs:  Needle-in-a-Haystack problem, but technology helps  Requires vigilance, time, and knowledge

19 A Recipe for Academic Integrity Clear, Well-Publicized Rules Adequate Student Training and Education Good Detection & Discipline Rate for Misbehavior Punishment Appropriate to Misbehavior Recognize Goal is to Keep Honest Students Honest

20 What is an Honor System? A Contract Between Students and Instructors Contractual Obligations for Students:  to be honest in all their academic endeavors  to identify and punish misbehavior and not to tolerate it Contractual Obligations for Instructors:  to treat students with respect  to give best assignments, not cheat-proof assignments  to expecting honesty and relax vigilance

21 Honor System (con’t) Results of Contractual Failures:  Students may lose privileges and respect of instructors  Instructors may lose respect of students Honor Systems are Not For Everyone


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